At the first tournament of the New Year the Manawa Wolves wrestled to a third place finish in their home 16 team invitational.
The Wolves placed 8 of their 11 wrestlers.
At the 120 pound class Dalton Timm had an up and down day. After pinning his first opponent and receiving a bye Timm found himself in the semi-finals. He wrestled an extremely tight match and eventually lost 4-6.
Timm entered the third place match and quickly went up 5-0. He was wrapped up by his opponent and fell awkwardly to the mat. The official stopped the match as it was apparent Timm was seriously injured. He was taken to the hospital, and it wasn’t long before the Wolves found out Timm’s season is over due to a dislocated knee and fractured knee cap.
“Dalton left with unfinished business on Saturday and it looks like his career will finish the same way,” said Coach Dan Kundinger. “It really hurts, that kid had it, the improvements he has made were unbelievable, we will miss him and we feel extremely bad for him. He is a great kid.”
In the 126 pound weight class Remington Reeck had himself a career day. After disposing of his first opponent quickly he lost to the eventual runner-up from Waupaca. Reeck then went on a tear receiving a bye and beating his next kid 6-5. In the fifth place match he again was in a tight battle in which he scored six points in the third period to win 13-11. Reeck finished 4-1 on the day and in fifth place.
“What an incredible day? He just never gave up and did what he was told. It was awesome for him to have the success he has been busting his tail for,” said Head Coach Brad Johnson. “He earned every bit of those wins and to see him celebrate after it with his team and his dad was priceless.”
Dominic Schuelke manned the 132 pound bout and battled all the way to the finals, advancing on two pins and a 9-2 win. Schuelke was downed 10-4 in the finals.
“Dom wrestled awesome today. We are so proud of the way he carried himself all day after victories and the lone loss. Dom is on the right path and will go a long way. He has got a bright future ahead of him,” said Coach Shae Coyle.
In the 138 pound division Daryn Claussen started off his day with a bye and sticking his second opponent in 1:50. Claussen lost in the semi-finals 6-0. In the third place match he lost 6-4 to finish fourth in the invitational.
“Daryn brought it today as he always does. There is absolutely no quit in that kid. He also showed me that he could be a great leg rider. Look for his style to change a bit on top as he makes that push for Madison,” said Johnson.
Justin Wentworth was Manawa’s 145 pound wrestler Wentworth disposed of his first and third opponents easily but found the runner up and fifth place finishers in his other matches.
“We have to remember this is still only Justin’s second year of wrestling. He is still learning the ins and outs. He puts in the time and is chasing success but couldn’t quite find enough of it today. He needs to keep his head high and keep battling,” said Kundinger.
Zach Kreklow scored the most points he scored all season in the 152 pound division on his way to a 1-2 record. After being pinned in his first match, but pinned his next opponent in 48 seconds.
“I think the best is still to come from Zach. He just keeps putting more and more things together and keeps getting closer and closer,” said Coyle.
In the 160 pound class the Wolves finally were able to watch one of their team captains, Garret Griffin, return to action. In his first match Griffin pinned his opponent. In the semi-finals Griffin was set to face a tough opponent from Winneconne. Griffin’s rust began to show through and he was unable to pull out the victory, sending him to the third place match. He pulled out a 6-3 win in that match to finish third place.
“Garret’s fine. I am not worried about him or that loss at all. He has been sitting out two months. It’s not just going to happen like that. Plus, March first is the only day that matters and he knows that. His goal is a state championship and I fear for his opponents as he continues to regain what he had,” said Johnson.
At 170 pounds Andy Bristow found himself down 10-1 entering the third period of his first match when he put his opponent in a hold that proved unforgiving. Bristow pinned his opponent from Tri-County for a huge upset win. His next two opponents got the better of him but nothing would damper his huge accomplishment in the first round.
“The smile on that kid’s face after that match was epic. I still don’t know if he was happier or if we were. That was awesome for Andy, he deserved it,” said Kundinger.
Jake Kaczorowski had a career day in the 195 pound class, going 4-1 on the day and finished in fifth place. Nothing matched his nail biting win in his fourth match to decide if he placed or not. After being tied going into the third period Kaczorowski chose neutral and took his opponent down. He put his opponent on his back for an eventual pin. In the fifth place match the intensity was much the same.
“The chest pound was icing on the cake. Emotions were running high all day as he faced elimination and he rose to the occasion each time. He wrestled his tail off and stayed persistent on his opponents. He never let up and made them accountable for their mistakes,” said Coyle.
Casey Johnson returned to form at the 220 pound class. Johnson made quick work of his opponents all day on his way to a bye, three pins, and a championship. In the second round Johnson pinned a wrestler who is ranked in the state.
“No one is tougher on Casey than me and that was a day I could accept. He really opened up on Lawlis in his first match and looked great. The rest of the day he continued working on his weaker areas and was able to be successful. If he wants to be at the top come March 1 then he is going to have to continue putting it on his opponents like he did today,” said Johnson.
Cole Thompson returned to form in 285 pound class. He collected two pins and a bye on his way to a second place finish.
“We are extremely happy with Cole’s day but we really want that finals match back. Cole made to many mistakes and it cost him. I can’t wait until conference because I know Cole can beat that kid and he is going too,” said Coyle.
Michael Gray was saw his first action of the season but went 0-2.
“Mike got his first action of the year and that was great to see. He has been working since November so I know he is hungry. He has determination and just overall anger toward his opponent which you can’t teach. We are all excited to see where he can go with hard work. The future is bright since he is only a freshman,” said Coach Johnson.
Hakeem Benhamadi received his first varsity win on the day. Hakeem finished 1-2.
“Hakeem found it today. He was able to dig deep, rack up points and secure that first win with a pin. The best part was that he stood up like he had done it 100 times before. It was awesome and we couldn’t be happier for him,” said Kundinger.
Ben Beyer is normally a 145 pounder for the Wolves but found himself in the 152 pound class. He met the eventual runner-up in round one. In round two he found himself in a battle down 4-3 in the third period. The unforgiving weight he was giving up and the inexperience put him in a hold he couldn’t break where he was eventually pinned.
“Ben has to keep his head up. He was the odd man out today that had to bump up the weight class but he never let it get to him. He battled and battled and that’s what he does. He is another one of the guys on our team that has a bright future being so young and having such a great work ethic,” said Coyle.
Damien Kitowski went out with fire in each of his matches in the 285 pound class. his day was shorter than anticipated but experience at the heavyweight class is tough to beat.
“Damien is here every day putting in the hours and eventually it will all click for him. He is a new wrestler who is aggressive which is great to have at heavyweight. This kid has the making of being a great heavyweight for the Wolves. He just has to keep putting in the time and he is going to be good. I have no doubts about that,” said Johnson.
The Wolves are off until Jan. 16 when they travel to Menominee.